HTC Vive price cut by $200 (and they're flying off the shelves)
When Oculus announced a dramatic price cut for their Rift headset a little over a month ago (down to $399 during the summer, $499 afterwards), there was much speculation about how long HTC could maintain the Vive's much higher $799 price point. It turns out the answer was...a little over a month.
This morning HTC dropped the Vive's price by $200 to a total of $599 (a price that includes the headset, sensors, and controllers but not the PC you need to run VR), which will place it just $100 above the price of the Rift package once the Oculus summer promotion ends. As of article publication the Vive is sold out at several major online retailers, so it's clear that the significant price drop was enough to convert some folks who have been waiting on the fence.
It's important to note that the $599 Vive purchase doesn't include the Deluxe Audio Strap, which offers a significant improvement to the headset's fit and comes with built-in headphones (which the base headset does not). That strap costs an extra $99, and while it isn't an essential purchase for new Vive owners, you're absolutely going to want it sooner or later.
VR wars and a coming second generation?
While the Vive was the VR headset with the most critical acclaim in the first year of consumer VR and the PlayStation VR has been a consistent sales leader, we're playing a whole new ballgame in 2017. Touch controls and the ability to provide room-scale experiences on the Rift have evened the playing field between the two PC VR options, and these new lower prices are putting virtual reality in the grasp of more consumers than ever before.
As was the case with the Rift price cut, this announcement has inspired some to question whether it's a sign of HTC clearing inventory in anticipation of a "Vive 2.0" headset release. HTC has specifically discussed how their product strategy involves gradual improvements without fragmenting the (still fairly small) VR userbase by releasing a new headset, but the pace of technological advancement means companies are going to have to update their products at some point or be left in the dust by new and more advanced releases from competitors. We're at the point of VR 2.0 quite yet, though, and in the meantime there are some fantastic VR experiences to be had right now.
So which of the big two PC VR headsets should you get? It's a tough call. The Rift is cheaper than the Vive and offers more exclusives thanks to Facebook's deep pockets, but the Vive allows room-scale experiences out of the box (without the need for an additional sensor purchase) and there are unofficial ways around Oculus exclusivity.
Have you made the leap to VR yet? Let us know your headset of choice in the comments.